Social media has been a blessing for small businesses, most of whom would now be lost without the power of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram behind them. But there’s a new kid on the block and they’re here to stay. This year, Snapchat has seen an unprecedented amount of growth that other social media platforms can only dream of.

It is predicted that by the end of 2017, Snapchat will have grown to over at least a whopping 170 million active users. The figures speak for themselves: Snapchat has the potential to become the number one tool for businesses to market themselves, particularly to millenials, who make up the largest proportion of its users.

There are three main reasons why SMEs may consider using Snapchat to promote their businesses:

1. Speed

Snapchat keeps people updated the fastest out of any of the social media platforms, as its users film events in real time and then share them with friends and followers, making it perfect for businesses to use when they are releasing a new product or holding a press conference. Furthermore Snapchat’s use of location filters makes people who are snapping at such events feel like they are part of something very exclusive. For example snapchat has been a huge success at events like Fashion Week’s where some designers have shown their collections on snapchat before even hitting the runways.

2. Celebrity endorsement

Celebrities have been quick to jump on Snapchat and use it to show their huge number of followers parts of their private life that had previously not been viewed by the public before.  Celebrity endorsements via Snapchat can help businesses show off their products to millions without having to do any real work themselves. Nike Football have started using Snapchat to give an insight into how professional footballers train on a day-to-day basis. The footballers are kitted out in full Nike gear, offering a goldmine of promotion for the clothing giant.

3. Exclusivity

Everyone loves a discount and offering promo codes which can only be exclusively accessed through watching a company’s Snapchat story is a great way for a business to keep customers interested and engaged. Snapchat also now has a feature allowing businesses to be featured without the user even adding a username, meaning your company can enjoy more views from an even wider demographic of people.

Snapchat is completely different to its competitors Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in that everything that is uploaded is not immaculate product photography but is instead the raw and live images of what’s happening there and then. This makes Snapchat the ideal social media for SMEs launching a new product or event. If your small business is not already on Snapchat, you may be missing the opportunity to connect with millions of new customers for free.